We are delighted to announce that STREAM has been shortlisted for another award - the Technology Innovation (SME) category in the SHD Logistics Awards 2017.
STREAM is a cloud-based delivery, transport and vehicle management software application designed and developed by Proximity. STREAM runs on the IBM i platform and IBM Power Systems hardware, and uses PHP, RPG, IBM DB2 for i and Zend Server for IBM i.
The application is used primarily by companies managing the order-to-delivery process with their own fleet of vehicles and is particularly suited to companies with challenging delivery and service requirements. This can include bulky or heavy items (i.e. furniture), items that require specialist fitting or installation (i.e. electronics) or items that have unique delivery requirements, like car transport.
In late 2016, STREAM was adapted for a new use case in conjunction with An Post and DB Schenker. An Post and DB Schenker partnered to launch a new venture: Post Logistics. Post Logistics is a pallet collection and delivery service for Irish SMEs. The logistics process and customer communication was managed with STREAM.
Our entry on the shortlist is based on STREAM's role in that new venture:
Post Logistics is a new venture from An Post (The Irish Post Office) in collaboration with DB Schenker. Proximity utilised STREAM (a cloud-based logistics solution) to deliver the customised application behind the new service. The new venture has given the logistics industry an innovative solution for B2B pallet distribution.
By implementing STREAM, An Post and DB Schenker have been able to quickly launch Post Logistics as a new service and small Irish businesses have been given the opportunity to easily and cost effectively export their goods to Europe with an end-to-end online service.
The whole process is managed efficiently, effectively and smoothly with STREAM. Customers book and pay online, changing collection dates until midnight the day before collection. An Post collects up to seven pallets from any small business across Ireland, and DB Schenker delivers them to any location across Europe, all fully tracked.
Proximity, the developer of STREAM, has worked closely with DB Schenker, one of the world’s largest transport and logistics providers, for many years. Proximity has developed, supported and maintained several business-critical applications, optimising and improving the efficiency of DB Schenker’s wide network and extensive logistics operations. Proximity and DB Schenker have developed a deep knowledge and expertise in software innovation for the logistics industry.
An Post have expertise in providing regular postal services, to both business and personal customers, throughout Ireland, making deliveries and collections at the most remote locations.
Previously, small Irish businesses had to put their trust in local couriers or transport companies to export pallets, often at high costs, with limited tracking capabilities and without properly meeting their requirements.
Working with DB Schenker and STREAM, An Post launched Post Logistics, which provides Irish SMEs the opportunity to easily export with a simple, reliable and cost-effective door-to-door pallet collection and delivery service, perfectly suited to their needs.
An Post had expertise in logistics throughout Ireland, an appropriate fleet of vehicles and the ability to collect from any address. DB Schenker had considerable experience delivering to businesses in the UK and continental Europe. Together they could provide a door-to-door pallet collection and delivery service, helping small Irish companies export goods to Europe and enabling growth in the Irish economy.
So how could the process be efficiently managed, whilst ensuring cost-effectiveness, simplicity for users and accountability at every stage?
Having worked with DB Schenker for many years, Proximity knew how to provide the solutions required by a large, specialist logistics provider.
Having developed STREAM as a cloud-based solution, much of the required functionality was already built into the software. STREAM would easily scale to meet the demands of a national service provider, like An Post.
STREAM was deployed to manage the booking, payment and collection process in Ireland, and provide notifications and tracking. By integrating with DB Schenker’s existing systems, goods are delivered across Europe with complete visibility.
This innovative solution gave An Post and DB Schenker a tangible return, in the form of new business venture, Post Logistics. The end-to-end logistical process is outlined below:
Small business owners book a job through the customer portal. Fill in some details, receive an instant quote, book and pay in one transaction, then print and attach the barcoded label.
Once a job has been booked, An Post use STREAM’s route planning and driver app to collect from any address in Ireland the next working day.
The pallets are transported by An Post to the national depot in Dublin, where they are transferred to DB Schenker. Every movement is scanned and tracked, with the barcoded label.
DB Schenker completes the freight forwarding from Ireland to its destination within Europe using the barcoded label. The customer has visibility of their pallets as they move through DB Schenker's shipping system, thanks to close integration with STREAM.
At the point of delivery, drivers collect ePODs (Electronic Proof-of-Delivery), complete with photos, signature, and timestamp. Customers receive immediate Notifications.
The implementation of STREAM for Post Logistics offered some specific benefits for Irish SMEs, making it particularly suited to a national service provider offering a logistics solution to small businesses:
STREAM has made exporting and freight forwarding simple for Irish SMEs. The entire process, from the self-service booking system to the tracking screen, is easy to use.
An Post is a trusted Irish household name, and DB Schenker has the size and credentials to quickly and reliably ship pallets across Europe. By integrating the two, STREAM makes the door-to-door process smooth and consistent. Barcoding and scanning with a single label minimises issues and maximises reliability and visibility.
The track and trace functionality of the STREAM driver app means that Irish SMEs and their end customers can always view the location of their pallets. This reduces queries and allows them to be answered quickly if they occur. ePODs (combining barcodes, signatures, photographs, timestamps and GPS locations) are available online, removing ambiguity and reducing disputes.
The streamlined service and map-based route optimisation of STREAM, combined with An Posts’ next-working-day collection and DB Schenker’s extensive European transportation network, mean that delivery is timely. Accurate delivery time estimates mean that end-customers always know when to expect their pallets.
“An Post’s ambition is to do more business. The landscape we operate in is changing rapidly and we have to adapt and grow. In many ways, it was the customers who shaped what Post Logistics is all about: we matched all that is best about An Post with a very real demand from customers for a freight forwarding service that is simpler, faster, reliable and offers real value. The real win is that we can actually help the nation trade more effectively on the global stage and make some money along the way.”